Bishop Allyson Nelson Abrams

As the voice of a new generation of liberation theologians, a feminist with a unique calling, and a political facilitator with the life experiences and credentials for ministering and leading historical congregations, Bishop Allyson Nelson Abrams, founder, prelate, and pastor of Empowerment Liberation Cathedral, located in Washington, DC and Lanham, MD, is an ecumenical sensation presiding at the nondenominational apex of religion, intersectionality, and politics.


Bishop Abrams took her rightful place in the annals of historical religious events and seized the national spotlight with her October, 2013 groundbreaking announcement to her congregation at Zion Progress Baptist Church in Detroit, that she had married Bishop Diana Williams, Bishop Emeritus of the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation. Bishop Abrams resigned thereafter, and began planning for her own church.


As if that were not enough, Bishop Abrams, once again, garnered national attention, on network television, marrying R&B Singer Monifah and her girlfriend, Terez Thorpe, on the season finale of the TVOne reality show "R&B Divas of Atlanta" whereby performing the very first African American same-sex wedding broadcast on a national television network.


Bishop Abrams is the first woman pastor in the Zion Progress Baptist’s 55-year history, and the youngest African American woman named Senior Pastor by a Baptist congregation.  She is the recipient of the State of Michigan Political Fellowship (2006), was elected and served on the Oak Park, Michigan School Board, eventually serving as the President of the Board, and served as a Police Chaplain for the Detroit Public School System.  She is a former Vice President of the South Oakland County NAACP, and was elected Council Secretary of the Council of Baptist Pastors, in Detroit.


Dr. Abrams has authored and published three books:  “Being On the Wheel in the Midst of Seminary,” (2002) “Worship Beyond Sunday Morning,” (2007) “30 Days B4 Saying I Do” (2013), and “God Can Still Use You” (In Development).  She has had two sermons published in the African American Pulpit, and was a co-editor of the Baptist Progress, the national magazine of the National Baptist Convention. 


Bishop Abrams earned her BSME in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University.  She attended Miles Law School and two years later changed course and accepted her call to ordained ministry.  By 2005, she had earned a Masters and Doctorate of Divinity degrees, with an emphasis in Worship, from the United Theological Seminary, of Dayton, Ohio. In 2001, she was ordained by the American Baptist and Progressive National Baptist Convention and elevated and consecrated, a bishop by Ecumenical College of Bishops, in 2012.


She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Order of Eastern Star.


Bishop Abrams and the Empowerment Liberation Cathedral were named “Best Clergy” (2015, 2017) and “Best House of Worship” (2015, 2016, 2017) by the Washington Blade’s “Best of Gay DC” respectively.  The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, traveling “Shower of Stoles,” show presented Bishop Abrams with an Honorary Stole (2016).  She was named “Alumni of the Year” by the United Theological Seminary, (2012), listed as “Who’s Who of Black Detroit” in (2006, 2010), named “Capital Pride Hero” (2016), and earned “Top 100 Gay ‘G List’ Leader” (2016, 2017).  Dr. Abrams was recently named one of the “Top 50 Leaders for National Youth Pride” (2018).


Bishop Abrams is the proud mother of 3 college graduates and co-parents with her wife Bishop Williams and her former husband.


As presiding Prelate, Bishop and Pastor of the Empowerment Liberation Cathedral, Dr. Abrams continues to bring her explosive brand of theology to pulpits, programs, and principalities, throughout the United States, and abroad.###